HomeNewsBriefColombia Loan Shark Network Uncovered in Mexico City
BRIEF

Colombia Loan Shark Network Uncovered in Mexico City

COLOMBIA / 24 AUG 2017 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

A new report claims that a Colombian loan shark network is operating in more than three quarters of Mexico’s states, a further indication that these lucrative schemes are expanding their illicit operations throughout Latin America. 

Mexican authorities have apparently identified a Colombian loan sharking network of over 1,800 foreigners whose tentacles spreads across Latin America, according to a report by the National Migration Institute (Instituto Nacional de Migración – INM) and Mexico’s Interior Ministry (Secretaría de Gobernación – SEGOB) that was accessed by Milenio

In and around the Mexican capital, the network’s lenders — who are hired and brought from Colombia to Mexico — offer credit to workers or small commercial establishments with a 20 percent interest rate for 20 days, according to the report. But if there is a delay in payment, the victims are threatened, robbed or sometimes attacked.

The group allegedly operates in 24 of Mexico’s 31 states, including Mexico City and the State of Mexico, as well as nine other countries in Latin America.

17-08-24 Colombia-Mex Loan Sharks

(Graphic c/o Milenio)

The network is reportedly protected by a group of some 30 police officers led by the “Carmona” brothers. These officers apparently charge the network a fee to avoid arrest, and report to the group’s purported leader, Ángela Adriana Alzate Ayala, alias “Angie,” according to Milenio.

The loan shark operation allegedly functions with the protection of the Tláhuac Cartel — formally led by Felipe de Jesús Pérez Luna, alias “El Ojos,” before he was killed in a shootout with Mexican marines in Mexico City in July — and the La Unión de Tepito criminal group. According to the report, the Tláhuac Cartel is a branch of the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO) and is now being led by Felipe Pérez, alias “El Felipillo,” Milenio reported. 

The loan network has a hierarchical structure, with the chief organizers at the top, followed by trusted supervisors, lenders and employees who visit clients to lend and collect money, and finally those who are in charge of promoting the loans at the bottom.

Since 2015, authorities have reportedly deported 135 lenders related to these activities in Mexico City and the State of Mexico.

There have already been indications that Colombian loan sharks were present in Mexico. In 2015, five Colombians who may have participated in a loan collection scheme were found killed in Veracruz, Mexico.

InSight Crime Analysis

Colombian loan sharking networks, which stem back to at least the 1980s, have been expanding their presence throughout Latin America in recent years. This trend is understandable given that the scheme has several key advantages: it can be relatively cheap to set up, the model can be replicated far and wide and, perhaps most importantly, it can be used to launder criminal profits. This particular Mexico City area organization allegedly has ties to groups involved in extortion, theft, homicide, drug trafficking and kidnapping, and uses the loan-debt system to launder dirty money.

SEE ALSO: Colombia News and Profiles

It is unclear whether or not the 1,800 people “linked” to Mexico City’s loan sharks are part of a coordinated organization spanning nearly a dozen countries. Such a scheme would suggest a far higher level of sophistication than the local units that have long operated in Colombia. Nevertheless, the “network” identified by Mexican authorities may well be little more than individual cells in multiple countries using the same successful modus operandi.

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 17 JUN 2014

Drug hits and gang shootouts are fueling fears the criminal pact that has lowered violence in Colombia's second city, Medellin,…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 13 NOV 2012

US and Colombian police say that they have uncovered evidence of two Florida-based networks which smuggled arms into…

COLOMBIA / 19 SEP 2011

Juan Manuel Santos became the first Colombian president to visit the site where the FARC rebel group was created in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …